the big idea of the new year

Happy New Year, friends! Welcome to 2020!

There’s something about a new year that always excites me. It’s not about the football or all the jovial festivities. It’s not even about the feasting, as the seasonal merriment soon comes to an end.

And truthfully, it’s not even about the resolutions — for as much as I like them, any new habit is good however long it lasts — although resolutions do have something to do with my glee; they’re just not the big idea.

As a kid, my mother, a gifted educator, often pointed me to one of the sweetest, quietly-profound, metaphorical learnings in her classroom.

As the final bell rang, extracurricular activities ended, and both students and educators went home for the day, a loyal school staff member was tasked with entering the now unpopulated room and cleaning the dusty chalkboard.

Each day that board was covered… with statements and numbers and quotes and experiments… with conflicts and problems and ways-to-work-things out. It was a place that prompted trial and error… a place that even welcomed failure, as failure is often one of life’s best teachers; failure and conflict and error were not known negatives.

The next day — a new day — all students start with a clean slate.

A clean slate for each of us is the beauty of a new year.

There is no record in 2020 of any offense, omission, or fault. The “debris-like” stuff is gone. There are no “wish-I-wouldn’t-have-done-that’s.” It’s an opportunity to start anew. To start over. What a beautiful thing.

Now show me the person who says there’s never a need to start over or has zero regrets, and I’ll show you a person who has most likely never learned the wisdom in apology and forgiveness. Apology and forgiveness are also some of life’s best teachers.

What would make you healthier in 2020 with a chance to start over?

What habit would be wiser?

What relationship could be healed?

Where could you grow?

I read a book years ago entitled “If You Want To Walk On Water You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat.” I still chuckle, as granted, none of us are near capable of messianic comparison, but the reality is that growth is good for each of us. Developing healthier habits and relationships fosters increased opportunity to thrive.

And in the year ahead, what a gift it can be to thrive.

Whatever physical and emotional debris cluttered your calendar, heart and mind in 2019, now is a new opportunity. We can mentally wipe off what we don’t like about ourselves or others or what happened in the year behind. We don’t have to ignore it or act like it didn’t happen, but today is a new day. Each day is a new day. We just have to “get out of the boat” and start. That is what excites me.

The dusty chalkboard is now clean, friends.

I thus look forward to the year ahead, encouraging, learning, dialoguing, debating, and inspiring via the Intramuralist. We do this together, and it is both a joy and a privilege to do this with you.

Respectfully, always…